English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What is the difference between presentation and demonstration?

share|improve this question
up vote 5 down vote accepted

In the context of my work at a software company, a presentation would include powerpoint slides with lists or screen shots of software functionality. A demonstration would include using the software to show, or demonstrate the functionality or how to complete a task.

share|improve this answer
Absolutely agree (speaking also from a software/technical background). The interactivity involved in a demo has resulted in a fairly common turn of phrase "if the demo gods are with us" to indicate that a demo can (and often does!) go wrong. – Loquacity Jul 3 '11 at 0:26

For one thing, a demonstration could involve hundreds of thousands of people marching through the streets, some of them maybe throwing petrol bombs.

A presentation rarely involves more than a handful of 'presenters', and usually it's just one person standing up in front of an audience and talking.

Without more context it's hard to be more specific. In some cases the words are interchangeable.

share|improve this answer

Assuming that by "demonstration" you mean somebody showing something to others rather than angry mobs in the streets:

A demonstration is a type of presentation. A presentation is any situation where you present some material to others. The typical presentation is a lecture with visual aids like slides. A demonstration is where you actually show something.

If the bulk of the time will be taken with showing the thing being demonstrated, you usually call it a demonstration (or "demo") even if there are also some accompanying slides. If most of the time will be spent with slides and talking and a demonstration is only a small part of it, it's better to call it a presentation (or a presentation that includes a demo) to set people's expectations correctly.

share|improve this answer

Demonstration is when someone is showing something to someone on how it works.

Presentation is when someone is presenting something to a group of person either by charts diagram, slides etc.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.